Friday, April 7, 2017

A Little Polka, Wildflowers, Friends and Sausage Time

It was a cloudy, rainy and very windy day when we left our spot at Riviera.  We made it into Hallettsville and found our spot at the Knights of Columbus Hall RV Park, sitting in the truck waiting for the rain to subside.  Why were we happy to be here?  Why it was the South Texas Polka & Sausage Fest!! We were meeting fellow camping buddies, too, that included Donna and Greg, Carol and James, and Buz and Judy.  It was going to be a full weekend for sure.  We also took time to go to our favorite brewery - Shiner!
Looks like they completed the new addition.

Getting our free samples!

Greg says "Cheers!"

Camping buddies from the left are Greg and Donna, Ron and Mary, James and Carol, and Buz and Judy.

So many pretty churches in this neck of the woods!

Things got started Friday night with a fish fry and some polka music.  We tend to dance a little more on the non-polka songs, but hey. This music is a part of our heritage.  Here's a little history:  Polka music and dance came to Texas when immigrants, primarily the Czech, German and Polish arrived looking for land and new homes.  The Czechs claim credit for inventing the dance around 1830 near Prague.  Their term "pulka" means "half-step", characteristic of the 2/4 time of the lively dance.  The Czech's are largely Catholic and their church communities are vital to the preservation of this culture. From Houston west to Seguin, Dallas and south to Victoria, you will find all kinds of fun polka times! The accordion is generally the lead instrument. A fiddle might be the star if the band is more Polish than German or Czech.  Enough history.  Here are a few pictures and a video if you care to listen.
The Duyka Brothers - one of our favorites!

The tuba player was having such a great time and was really good!

There are several bands that set up and at the end all the bands get on stage together and play and have a great time together!

If you look at the pictures you will see that the majority of the crowd is well above 65. However, there were quite a few aged 10 and under and lots of young and middle age adults.  One of the things that I have never done was attend a Polka Mass.  There were 2 bands involved:  The Czechahholics and the Dujka Brothers, one of our favorites.  This is a regular mass but there is lots of music involved - polka music, and all of the lyrics are all religious.  Very beautiful and I certainly enjoyed it!
These little kids were doing a really great job!
Have to love how so many of these folks brought their own portable fans to cool off!  They are serious about their dancing and having a good time!

On Sunday, Ron and I got up to go to a 9 am Mass in Sweet Home. It was very special. Not only is this one of the most beautiful painted churches, but our nephew Father Jacob Koether was the priest there!  He did an awesome mass. A very good message. It's very refreshing to be at a small church in the middle of nowhere and witness such a strong church family.  An even better thing was having Father Jacob meet us for lunch back in Hallettsville and getting caught up on some long overdue visiting. He's excited for our fulltime lifestyle and also our upcoming Alaska trip.  We didn't do much dancing on Sunday. A very large crowd. We were stuffed with sausage and fried chicken from lunch. We decided to chill at the trailers and bbq some hamburgers.
Having lunch with our nephew Father Jacob Koether was a treat!

Monday we all left for Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City.  Our day trips here included getting out and seeing wildflowers on the Willow City Loop outside of Fredericksburg.  They were just beautiful on the drive from Inks Lake to Llano.

Beautiful field of Indian Paintbrushes and Bluebonnets!

Beautiful field of what I think was Bull Nettle. Ouch!

The Texas State Flower

Donna and Greg

James and Carol

Mary and Ron

The Chevrolet having to pull the Ford......

Always enjoy seeing this on the Willow City Loop outside of Fredericksburg.

In the town of Llano

Refreshment break at the Pecan Street Brewery in Johnson City. Our favorite is the Screw Lose Blonde.
Of course Wednesday night found us at Albert - the best little hidden place there is.  The band - the Lost Sounds of Texas Honky Tonk - was there too.  A wonderful way to end a really great day of visiting with rangers from the LBJ National Historical Park and folks we see over and over again at Albert.  BTW, we will be volunteers at the park again next February, March and April.  It's the best time of the year to be in that part of the state.

Love this place! 

On Thursday, Donna and Greg and Carol and James left for Schulenburg, our next stop. We stayed at the park. Wanted to get a little hiking in and just have time to enjoy ourselves.  The best part of the day was having our friend Susie Payne and her husband Jim come out.  Last year we volunteered with Susie at Garner State Park.  She's a pistol and we think the world of her.  Unfortunately, I didn't pull out the camera.  We got caught up and cooked up some bbq ribs that were wonderful.

Friday we headed to Schulenburg RV Park.  My cousin Sharon and Richard were going to be there too. Saturday was their Sausage Fest.  I am happy to say that my ankle is good enough that I signed up to walk in their 5K "Wurst Run Ever". (I really just wanted the t-shirt!).  I made it in 45 minutes.  The last time I did one of these 5K's my time was better.  But let's see.......dislocated left foot and 2 surgeries ago might explain that.

Great morning walk doing the 5K to benefit autism.

Some of the highlights of the day was waiting for a parade, only to find out that the only participants were the parade marshall and the high school band.  Woopsie!  Donna and I were pickle judges.  Ron and Greg were sausage judges. Visited with friends and kinfolk that were there. We all went back to the RVs and had a great happy hour and dinner courtesy of the Dairy Queen right by the RV park.  Gotto love that it was also BOGO on blizzards!
This is how many pickles were left over after taking a sample of 15 for the contest!
The historic Sengelman Hall. All of the judging was here. Very old dancehall!

The start of the shortest parade I have ever attended.

The end of the shortest parade!

Greg enjoying a yummy turkey leg.

Donna shows us how to judge a pickle!

Inside the hall

Street dance time!

The historic bar

Greg and Ron had to judge 30 different sausage entries. Friends from Sweeny Cindy and Lawton King were also judges.

We are ending this little trip by spending a week in Fentress on the San Marcos river. One of our favorite places.  Time flies!  We did some more shopping at the Outlet Mall and spent a lot of time sunning and fishing on the river bank.  I am beating the heck out of Ron fishing.  A couple of times I had to give him the pole as these big catfish would take off down the river bank.

Biggest channel catfish I ever caught!

Lots of fun!

My view walking every morning!

We will be heading back to Sweeny to spend our final weeks before the big Alaska trip with family and friends.  Easter weekend we will go to Galveston State Park. Other than that nothing big planned.  Stay tuned for the big Alaska Adventure!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun times as always! Thanks for the pictures of wildflower season in Hill Country & Albert; sure do miss it there. Great news about you heading back there this coming winter! Enjoy your time in Texas now; looking forward to reading about your Alaska Adventure! Betty p.s. I'm half Polish and went to a Polish grade school. I took Polka lessons as a child (don't most girls take ballet lesson?)and danced in the Philadelphia Pulaski day parade. Thanks for bringing back memories of that, too!